JACKSON, MISS. – Sept. 22, 2020– The Mississippi Arts Commission Board of Commissioners has named Sarah Story, of Austin, Texas, as the new executive director of the state arts agency following a national search. MAC’s current executive director, Malcolm White, will retire from the agency, effective Sept. 30. Story will begin her tenure with the agency Nov. 1.
A Jackson, Miss., native, Story currently serves as executive director of the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum in Austin. An accomplished arts administrator, she has spent much of her career working for museums in the South, creating innovative programming and fostering strong public-private partnerships.
After spending eight years away from Mississippi, Story is eager to return to her home state to lead the Mississippi Arts Commission and continue her work of advancing the arts.
“I am thrilled to join the Mississippi Arts Commission as the organization’s new Executive Director. It is the rich cultural heritage and creative talent of my home state of Mississippi that first inspired my career in the arts,” says Sarah Story. “In particular, I’m excited by the opportunity to explore how the arts can further promote and appreciate the state’s diversity. Humbly following the strong leadership of Malcolm White, I look forward to partnering with the board of directors, staff and the people of Mississippi as we continue supporting and celebrating the creative spirit of our state.”
In her role at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum, Story manages the operations and strategy of a 30 year-old institution that exhibits the work of Charles Umlauf and other visual and preforming artists in a museum and garden setting. Her accomplishments there include increasing membership by 91 percent, launching “UMLAUF Live” to address Austin’s venue crisis, introducing new fundraising events to grow revenue, and increasing the visibility of institution through new programs, dynamic exhibitions, social media, and rebranding efforts. Additionally, she serves on many community boards and committees including The Trail Foundation and the Visit Austin Foundation. Prior to this role, she served as deputy director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.
“Sarah Story’s passion for the arts is infectious,” says Carol Puckett, board chair of the Mississippi Arts Commission. “Her background and skills are the perfect fit for this moment in the life of the Mississippi Arts Commission and will chart an exciting path for the agency in the future.”
Story was a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College student and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Mississippi, where she began her career in arts administration as a student at the University Museum. She also earned her master’s degree in arts administration from the University of New Orleans.
In her role as executive director of MAC, Story will be responsible for strategic planning, public speaking, grants administration, business management, partnership development and other duties. The executive director of MAC reports to a 15-member board of directors appointed by the Governor and manages an 11-member professional staff.
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